Month: June 2017

FCA US scores high in initial quality

Improvement. Something we all strive for and work hard to attain. According to the results of J.D. Power’s most recent Initial Quality Study (IQS), FCA US vehicles are making strides in improving initial quality. In fact, for the second year in a row, FCA US has improved initial quality at a rate that exceeds the industry average. Ram Truck, alone, made a monumental 24 percent improvement over last year’s study. Overall customer satisfaction grew 8 percent over results from the 2016 study. “We’re pleased to see that all FCA US brands have made improvements in initial quality, especially Ram Truck with its big step up this year,” said Scott Garberding, Head of Quality, FCA – Global. “My colleagues and I are focused on continuing to deliver quality new vehicles, like the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, as we continue to bring important new technologies into the market with an increasing number of exciting new vehicle launches in the coming years.” Joining in on the Ram Truck celebration is the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, which was the highest-ranking minivan in the study during this, its maiden year. Over at Dodge, they are celebrating two top three finishes. The Dodge Grand Caravan took second place to its cousin, the Chrysler Pacifica, while the Challenger continued its more recent tradition of strong finishes. (Challenger received … Read More

Drive Toward a Cure plans southern adventure

Parkinson’s disease affects more than five million people worldwide. The likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael J. Fox and others have brought the disease to the forefront of the American public, by educating and raising funds that allow researchers to continue the fight for a cure. A more recent, up and coming group is combining a love of cars and driving to raise awareness and money. Drive Toward a Cure has opened registration for their second event – a three-day southern adventure that kicks off in Asheville, North Carolina, and wraps up at the opening of the 2017 Atlanta Concours d’Elegance. Other highlights along the 600-mile path will include the beauty of the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains as well as the infamous Tail of the Dragon. The inaugural event for Drive Toward a Cure took place in April 2016 and raised more than $26,000. But for founder Deb Pollack, it’s more than just a fundraising event. It’s a “passion with a meaningful cause [that] has taken on a whole new emotional meaning.” As someone who was personally affected by the disease, Pollack is riding on her love for all things automotive to build interest in battling Parkinson’s disease. “Through our inaugural ‘California Adventure’ drive, we learned that the friends that drive together, thrive together,” said Pollack. “We are looking to … Read More

From a dream to reality – the all-new 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all own a sexy, Italian sports car? What if our lives could fit into a sexy, Italian sports car? In just a few, short weeks, we can, in a matter of speaking. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is scheduled to arrive on showroom floors across the United States later this summer. Developed and built off the Giulia platform, the Stelvio boasts 50/50 weight distribution, lightweight carbon fiber driveshaft and a low center of gravity that, when combined with its independent suspension, provide sports-carlike handling. All this and room to comfortably seat five. “The all-new Stelvio, named after one of the greatest driving roads in the world—the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps—sets a new benchmark for the segment,” said Reid Bigland, head of Alfa Romeo. “Stelvio is uniquely engineered to challenge 2-door sports cars on the track, without sacrificing any of the characteristics you would expect from a premium SUV, resulting in the perfect mix of high performance, capability and Italian design.” Included in the list of standard features across the entire Stelvio lineup are: All-wheel drive Alfa DNA drive mode selector 18-inch aluminum wheels Leather seating backup camera with rear park sensors Remote start Passive entry with Keyless Go Power liftgate All of this at a starting MSRP of $41,995 (plus $995 destination … Read More

How far would you drive for your favorite coffee?

Coffee. I don’t think I realized quite how much I valued my morning walk to Starbucks until I moved away from “the big city.” Even if I had a deadline, or was just plain lazy and didn’t feel like going out for a steaming cup, the coffee bar on my office floor was a perfect pit stop for a personalized morning jolt. These days, the closest Starbucks is 20+ miles away. Not exactly within walking distance. So, this got me to thinking, exactly how far would I go for my favorite cup of morning Joe? If 20 miles is too far, is 10 miles pushing the limit? What about five miles? Surely five miles is acceptable for a cup of that divine decadence that gets me going in the morning, right? We have a few cafes in town that have decent coffee, two national chains with adequate coffee (truth be told, I’d rather just have coffee at home) and a regional chain that is my first choice, if the short drive to town is all the farther I’d care to venture. Recently, I’ve learned the next town over is home to a coffee and crêperie with coffee that’s worth going the extra mile. The opportunity to visit has not crossed my path yet, but I have the feeling that, when … Read More

When was the last time you reviewed your credit report?

How often do you check your credit report? Perhaps the better question is, when was the last time you checked your credit report? There are plenty of people online that will tell you what a credit bureau is and how to fix whatever may be ailing it. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to improving your credit score, nor is my intention to provide advice on how to do so. Ignoring your credit report, however, is something different altogether. And like most things, choosing to simply bury your head in the sand doesn’t make it go away, nor is it a good idea. Why is it important to check your credit bureau on a regular basis? Well, for starters, mistakes happen. No human or computer, as hard as we may try to make either one, is perfect. So, while every effort is made to ensure the information reported to bureaus is accurate, the hard truth is sometimes errors are made. In the event that an inaccuracy has been reported, the best way to catch it is by regularly reviewing your credit bureaus. Another good reason to check your credit report is, unfortunately, identity theft. Keeping an eye on what’s happening with the credit bureaus can give you an early warning if you have fallen … Read More

Could Chrysler and Jillian Michaels make you the biggest winner?

When you think Jillian Michaels, images of the television show The Biggest Loser come to mind, don’t they? Even if they weren’t before, admit it, they are now. It’s the show that made her a household name. But more than just a fitness trainer who worked with, encouraged and motivated not only her onscreen teammates, but also the millions who watched each week, to lose weight, Michaels is an author and business woman. Most recently, she has also partnered with Chrysler and Amazon Family to present the Ultimate Parent Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner will receive a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, a personalized family training session with Michaels and a $1,000 Amazon gift card. But that’s not all! A total of 20 runner-up prizes will be awarded. Each runner-up will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. “Today’s parents want the very best for their children: the safest vehicles for their family and the environment, the best products and a healthy lifestyle,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT®, Chrysler and FIAT®, FCA – North America. “However, the expectations and hectic lives modern parents face can make finding the time to achieve these priorities challenging. The Ultimate Family Sweepstakes, with partners Amazon Family and Jillian Michaels, gives us the opportunity to celebrate families and give one … Read More

Are smartphones a little too smart these days?

A friend once told me, “The sign of a good shopping trip was walking outside and not remembering where you parked your car.” I’m not a shopper, so naturally I always just laughed and moved on to the next topic. Rarely did I come out of a store and not know where I parked. Once on a business trip, however, my travels were extended. Then they were extended again. When I finally returned home, two weeks later, do you think I could remember where my car was parked? And, of course, that was the one time I chose the multi-level, terminal parking, versus the less expensive remote where you can simply walk to the end of each row and press the panic button, then listen for your vehicle. The whole time I was walking between parking levels, trying to find my car, all I could hear was my friend’s voice in my head saying, “That must’ve been one heckuva shopping trip.” These days it’s nearly impossible to forget where you parked. By the time you’ve walked 10 steps away from your car, your smartphone is sending you a message to let you know you’re parked nearby. The first time this happened to me, I have to admit, it freaked me out a little. As a member of Generation Just-Old-Enough-to-Know-Who-Orson-Welles-Is-But-Young-Enough-To-Appreciate-Today’s-Technology, it … Read More

Unique vacation spots to enjoy this summer

I frequently write about family road trips and/or getaways. But this summer, the Pumpkin, as I fondly refer to our daughter, is off to summer camp for two weeks and we are on our own. Suddenly I find myself researching unique vacation ideas for adults. I didn’t want to limit myself to places nearby, so I started researching fun places all over the United States using Thanks to the staff there, I found some of the most amazing places. For example, have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend some time in a real lighthouse? Why not spend a night in one? The Heceta Head Lighthouse in Yachats, Oregon, offers the ability to do just that with six guest bedrooms, five bathrooms, parlors to relax in and even a guest kitchen in which meals can be prepared. If a lighthouse isn’t quite your style, what about a caboose? The Red Caboose Motel, in Ronks, Pennsylvania, has caboose cars (seems obvious, I know) fully-equipped with everything you need for a comfortable night’s stay. Imagining sleeping accommodations in a lighthouse or caboose may not be all that difficult in a lighthouse or a caboose, but what about a bank? I’m not talking about sleeping in a mattress full of money or anything like that, but L’Banca Albergo, in … Read More

Slow down. Move over.

Not long ago, a friend of mine found herself on the side of a busy highway with a flat tire. It was rush hour. Roadside assistance arrived on scene quickly to help get her back on the road. Upon arrival, the roadside assistance worker, with lights flashing, positioned the truck at an angle, protecting her from oncoming traffic. He then instructed her to remain inside her vehicle so she would remain as safe as possible. She did as she was told. As she watched the traffic continue to zoom past without slowing or moving over to the next lane, she became acutely aware of the danger he put himself in to help her. Frustrated with what she saw, she commented that she couldn’t believe how rude people were being as they passed. But the roadside assistance worker wasn’t surprised. He told her it was rare that someone slowed or moved to the next lane, despite the fact that it was the law to do so. A law? Really? Isn’t it just common courtesy? In fact, no. It is the law. And in 2015, just two, short years ago, a poll conducted by Mason Dixon Polling & Research revealed that 71 percent had never heard of “Move Over” laws, despite the fact that all 50 states have enacted them. The Move … Read More